21 May 2015, The Tablet

Francis urges cloistered nuns to engage with the world

POPE FRANCIS has warned cloistered nuns that they should not entirely seal themselves away from the world, writes Hannah Roberts.

In a private audience with Religious from the Diocese of Rome on 16 May to mark the Year of Consecrated Life, the Pope was asked by a nun about the tension between concealment and visibility in the convent. He said the religious life was God’s call “towards both the hidden life and the need to be a sign”. Stressing that convents and monasteries should keep up with world events, the Pope said: “Your vocation is not a refuge; it is going on to the battlefield … in prayer.”

Francis urged nuns to be “like mothers”, merciful with sinners during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which starts in December. The model to follow “is a mother who doesn’t flay her children. Otherwise she is a stepmother.”

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